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  • Ready to Jump from AT&T for Verizon iPhone. Not So Fast

    Posted on January 22nd, 2011 Shawn 1 comment

    Unless you have been under a rock this month, you know the illustrious iPhone 4 will be heading to Verizon on February 10. This will be the first time, since the original release of the iPhone in 2007, that the phone has been made available on a CDMA carrier (Verizon and Sprint are both CDMA carriers in the U.S.) This will also be the first time that an iPhone will get 3G data speeds outside of AT&T, in the U.S. (T-Mobile users have been able to use unlocked iPhones, but unable to get 3G speeds).

    There is a lot of rumbling that many people unhappy with AT&T’s service issues (that’s phone/data service, not customer service), will likely jump ship from AT&T for the greener grass of Verizon. If you are one of those people, there are a few major considerations you should be aware of before you make the big move.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • PSA for potential “Verizon Droid” adopters

    Posted on November 9th, 2009 Steve 1 comment

    motorolaDroid[1]

    First off this is NOT a review of any kind. I am in no way responsible for anything stupid you may do as a result of the information below (i.e. get thrown out of a Verizon store for being an unruly nerd customer). 😉

    My girlfriend and her mother both purchased this phone on Saturday. Of course I went with them to make sure they did not get suckered into any extra services or accessories and because I also am very interested in buying it, but am not eligible for an upgrade yet.

    The process was fairly smooth, but obviously something interesting happened or I would not be writing this to Shawn’s blog right? As usual, the sales rep synced their old contacts to their new Droid phones and then promptly asked for their email address and password. Obviously this raised my attention, and after a short ‘discussion’, I was informed that he (the sales rep) is ‘not allowed’ to let any Droid device leave the store without a synced email account on the phone due to “how the data plan works”. Clearly, he has no clue what is going on and management has told him to do something, so he does it.

    If it was me purchasing the phone, he would have been dealing with a PITA engineer for a customer. Luckily my girlfriend and her mother don’t use their email for anything important, so they handed over their credentials and let the sales rep go out back and sync the devices. No issues have occurred as a result.

    So when it comes time for me to purchase, I plan on:

    1)Claim I don’t have an email account and see what happens…

    OR

    2)Create a dummy gmail account to sync with the phone, change it myself as I see fit after I leave the store.

    OR

    3)Change my email’s password to a temporary password, change it back when I leave the store

    AND

    4)Attempt to swindle the device out of the sales rep’s hands in order to configure the device myself (This is the best case, and what I will try first).
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    This was at my local Verizon store, mileage may vary elsewhere.

    Take it for what you will…

    -Steve

  • BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    Posted on July 28th, 2009 Shawn 2 comments

    I haven’t given enough love lately to My Gadget Obsession, most of my time has been spent on My Game Obsession.  Let’s talk BlackBerry.

    We last left off on the continuing series where I had jumped ship from Verizon Wireless after many years and headed to AT&T.

    Part 1 – Last Days on Verizon Wireless
    Part 2 – First Days on AT&T
    Part 3 – BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    Now, let’s talk about My new Gadget Obsession, the BlackBerry Bold 9000. This has been my primary device since February 2009.  As far as smartphones go, this one wins over the three I previously owned (BlackBerry Storm 9530, Palm Treo 650, Palm Treo 700p).  It’s not perfect, but hits enough pluses to be a huge success for me.

    Since I am both a Bold and Storm owner, I feel I can give a fair comparison of the two.  I’ll put features in categories to make it a quick read.

    Screen – The Storm has a much larger screen (3.25 inches versus ~2.3 inches), yet only a slightly higher resolution (480 x 360 pixels versus 480 x 320 pixels).  What this translates into is the Bold has a brighter, crisper display. Side-by-side, there’s no comparison, the Bold looks nicer.  Though, the sheer size of the Storm display, at 480 x 360 is higher than the iPhone, is extremely good.  Both the Bold and Storm excel in the display department.  In my opinion, there are very few smartphones on the market that look as good and sharp as the Bold and Storm.
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    Keyboard – The age old story, of preference should come into play here (but it does not).  Do you like a physical QWERTY keyboard on the candy-bar layout (that would be the Bold), or do you like all touchscreen with an on-screen soft keyboard (that would be the Storm).  Personally, I want both!  I had both on the Palm Treo, and I want it on my newer phones. Rant aside, preference really doesn’t apply much here…well, not in the standard sense.  The Storm keyboard just plain falls down with the patented “SurePress” technology of the screen clicking for every typed character.  No matter how good a smartphone typist you are, you just cannot get much speed out of typing on the Storm, plus my fingers quickly get sore typing on it.

    The Bold keyboard has been called “the Cadillac of smartphone keyboards”. It’s big, the buttons are wide and the have a very solid click feel to them.  I believe it is a very impressive and solidly built keyboard, though it’s actually a little too wide for me, but only a little.  I’m being very picky here.  If the keys were just a tad shorter and thinner, I’d be able to type lightening fast.  Plus the form factor of the phone could be a little smaller. (I think the recently released BlackBerry Tour 9630 on Verizon has slightly smaller keys).

    The one major complaint to the Bold keyboard is I have not figured a way to press the ‘alt’ key and have it lock to type several numbers.  Same thing goes for the ‘sym’ key to type several symbols.  This makes typing anything other than letters slow and challenging.  On the Storm touchscreen keyboard, there is the ability to lock the ‘alt’ key.

    Now, if email and text isn’t your main use for a smartphone, then the Storm might just be right for you. We’ll get into that on Navigation.  Overall the Bold wins and stomps on the Storm in the keyboard category.

    Camera – The Storm camera is an impressive 3.2 MP with flash, auto focus, 2x digital zoom.  Whereas, the Bold is a 2.0 MP with flash, 3x digital zoom.  The Storm takes better quality pictures, that’s for sure…but there’s a cost.  The software (and/or hardware) running the Storm camera is very slow and can take about 3 seconds for a photo to snap.  So those posed pictures commonly have closed eyes, or those candids have a a blur since the photo opportunity passed by the time the shutter captures the image.  Though, if the picture is captured as expected, the Storm photos are very impressive.  The Bold is decent and easy to use.  Though at only 2.0 MP, do not expect semi-professional quality photos to come out of it.

    Audio – The Storm has a single speaker in the back-bottom-center of the battery case. The Bold has two-speakers hidden under the top of the battery case emanating sound out of the left and right side.  You’d expect the Storm being the media device to have better speaker sound, but the bold takes the win here.  As far as using headsets or bluetooth Headsets, both sound excellent.

    Media – As for the media players, the Storm (with it’s larger display) can display album art more than twice the size of the Bold.  I love displaying album art, and wish there was a full-screen option to the Bold.  The Storm was designed for media and videos, although crisper on the Bold, are best played on the larger screen.  I don’t use my smartphone for much video though, but I do use it for my regular MP3 player.  The BlackBerry Media Player (on both the Bold and Storm) does not stand up to the old PocketTunes player on Palm OS or iPhone/iPod.  There’s no bookmarking feature, no cross-fade feature, no custom skin feature, and limited EQ options.  The BB Media Player is just so-so.  I’m looking at 3rd party players, but have yet to find a perfect replacement.  For podcasts, I use PodTrapper and highly recommend it for any BlackBerry user that listens to podcasts.

    Service – “Your mileage may vary”.  I get good AT&T signal at home and inside some buildings.  I get poor Verizon signal at home and inside some buildings.  As for data service, the Bold has WiFi and the Storm does not.  That’s a huge negative on the Storm for me.  I have my home wireless network setup on the Bold. As soon as I walk in my front door, the Bold detects my home network and connects.  That way I get broadband speed for downloads, email, and web browsing at home.  Makes audio streaming work near perfect.  The Bold is my first smartphone with WiFi, and I will never go back to one without it.  The battery life is not that bad when leaving WiFi on all day.  For me, the Bold wins on the AT&T signal and the WiFi capabilities.

    Navigation – Not GPS navigation, but navigating on the device.  This is really a preference.  The Bold has the standard BlackBerry trackball, where the Storm is all based on touchscreen.  I think the trackball is ok, at best.  I commonly navigate to something and click with the trackball, only to have the item above/below selected.  It’s frustrating.  The trackball is also likely to build up “gunk” over the months/years of use and will reduce its performance.  I do not favor the trackball very much.  Though, when it works, I can fly around for navigation.

    The touchscreen navigation on the Storm is nice.  Finger flips on the screen scroll it any direction you need. Pressing on the SurePress screen selects your item, and I rarely ever click the wrong item.  For me, the Storm wins in the navigation department.

    Size – Both are big and clunky (see pictures).  If you are looking for something small to hide in your bag or pocket, don’t go for either of these.  I’m not so worried about size :-) so I’m OK on both.

    Speed – Both the Bold and Storm are fairly snappy.  The time they slow down is when you are running low on flash memory (see Storage).  Otherwise, both perform quite well.  No complaints.

    Storage – The Bold comes with 32MB flash memory for storing and running applications, plus 1GB of memory for storage (files, photos, music, etc.).  There’s also a microSD slot for adding up to 16GB of additional storage. Once you start playing with downloading/installing/running applications, you’ll quickly learn that 32MB is just not enough.  The Bold cannot run like an iPhone loading up hundreds (or even dozens) of apps that you may (or more likely may not) use.  32MB quickly gets taken with only a handful of installed apps.  Keep in mind that the 32MB is needed not only to store the apps, but to run them too.  Just not enough.  1GB of on-board storage is nice, and the microSD slot is great.  I have an 8GB microSD card, and considering upgrading to a fast 16GB card in the future.

    The Storm comes with 128MB flash memory for storing and running applications, plus 1GB of memory for storage (files, photos, music, etc.).  There’s also a microSD slot for adding up to 16GB of additional storage. The 128MB is respectable, and will go a lot further than the Bold.  It’s still not up to iPhone snuff, but easily trashes the Bold.

    Let’s wrap this up.  Both are great devices.  The Bold keyboard wins.  The Bold WiFi wins. The Storm screen size and media capabilities win. The Storm flash memory wins.  The Storm navigation wins.  Now that I have owned two very different BlackBerry devices, I realize that I cannot wait for the rumored next generation that will combine the best of the Bold and Storm, a BlackBerry with both physical keyboard and touchscreen.  It’s not very groundbreaking since Palm has been doing that format for more than 7 years.  It will be nice to have the best of both worlds.  For now, I’m content with the Bold and my wife is content with the Storm.
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  • Initial Thoughts of AT&T versus Verizon Wireless

    Posted on April 23rd, 2009 Shawn 3 comments

    Welcome to part two of a multi-part romance novel (not exactly) of a man, and quest for the ultimate device and network.

    Part 1 – Last Days on Verizon Wireless
    Part 2 – First Days on AT&T
    Part 3 – BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    I’ve been rockin’ the BlackBerry Bold 9000 on AT&T for a few weeks, so it’s time to publish part two of this series. If you need to catch up, read part one.

    I’m going to focus solely on the network here.  I won’t be comparing Bold versus Storm (that will be in an upcoming post). I will not be talking BlackBerry versus Treo (that will also be in an upcoming post).  For this, we talk Verizon Wireless versus AT&T.

    This is not my first dance with AT&T, but it has been about 6 years since I was on their network.  Plus back then, they were called Cingular and Cellular One before that. 3G didn’t exist back then. Hell, 2G didn’t exist (as far as I know). Smartphones were only for mobile technology uber-geeks, which I wasn’t one at the time. I had the most plain Jane Nokia phone. Monochrome screen, no texting, analog and digital capabilities, no vibrate mode (but I did buy a 3rd party battery that had a vibrate feature, and it made the phone sound like a quacking duck when it rang).

    I left Cingular because they screwed me on a billing issue, which went to a collection agency.  At the time, I was in the process of getting qualified for a home mortgage and Cingular’s collection agency (a 3rd party company) threatened if I did not pay a late fee that it would effect my credit rating. So, I negotiated a payment and promptly cut all ties with Cingular.

    Still in 2003, after researching the other available networks in my area, Sprint didn’t make the cut, and Verizon Wireless won my business. Up until May 2009, Verizon has been my carrier.  So, why the switch?
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    A couple reasons made my decision. (1) Choice of devices. (2) Voice/data coverage in primary locations. (3) WiFi.

    Choice of Devices
    As a work mandate, if I want work email on the device, I have to use BlackBerry devices. My employer has determined the most recent available BlackBerry device on Verizon (BlackBerry Storm 9530) is not a viable option. That leaves us with older BlackBerry devices that have older operating systems (BBOS 4.5) and lower screen resolutions. For AT&T, they have one of the three available “next generation” BlackBerry’s, the Bold 9000. It has a newer operating system (BBOS 4.6), higher screen resolution, and other features. AT&T wins on the “newness” factor for devices, since the Storm was ruled out by my employer.

    Voice/data coverage in primary locations
    We all know the commercials for Verizon Wireless, about “the network”.  Well, sorry to say, I get little to no coverage at home with Verizon Wireless. The coverage is so bad that I never take a call on my mobile at home, knowing that it will end in a dropped call. Other primary business areas near me (Waltham, MA) have very poor coverage also. I switched to AT&T blindly, without knowing what coverage I would get. Boy, oh boy, I was pleasantly surprised. Voice/data quality at home is excellent. I commonly get 3G signal strengths, and have not dropped a single call in the three weeks I’ve been on AT&T. AT&T wins in my area. NOTE: The network all depends on where you are at.  Verizon has a great network, just not enough coverage where I need them.

    UPDATE: I completely forgot about the capability difference between the two different networks. Without going into the technical details, Verizon Wireless’ network is setup to allow voice or data. There is no simultaneous capability on Verizon to let you talk on a call and use data (internet) at the same time.  For AT&T’s 3G network, you have simultaneous voice and data capabilities. This was not a must have feature for me, but the cool thing is the ability to be on a call, while the integrated GPS is running Garmin software and updating maps over the AT&T data plan. In another scenario, I can be on a call trying to make plans for dinner, and use the web browser to locate directions to a restaurant.  This can’t be done on Verizon’s network.

    WiFi
    This area AT&T wins without any discussion. AT&T has been very open to devices with built-in WiFi for several years. Whereas Verizon has been slow to adopt WiFi. Verizon has only a few devices with WiFi, and none are BlackBerry. No WiFi on the Storm, and none on the next BlackBerry coming to Verizon sometime in the next couple months. The BlackBerry Bold for AT&T has WiFi built in. AT&T wins on the WiFi front.

    Wrap Up
    To sum up this part, I’m very happy with the AT&T network thus far. I previously had been lulled into beleiving Verizon was the only company with great network coverage, and that AT&T had poor coverage. Please keep in mind, your mileage may vary where you are located. My AT&T coverage is so impressive, that my wife will be dropping her Verizon plan when her contract is up in a few months and will sign up with AT&T.

    As far as customer service goes, I loved Verizon’s web site. I would use it regularly to keep track of my acocunt and pay bills. I very rarely call customer service for help, but Verizon’s customer service was hit or miss. They took care of me a few years ago when I had an accidental $700 monthly bill, but they were unable to help me with technical questions on the BlackBerry Storm. They also put up a brick wall, when I tried to transfer my Storm to my wife’s account (without a data plan). As for AT&T’s customer service, I do not plan on using it at all, since my employer will now handle all my BlackBerry/AT&T customer service needs.

    That’s it for now. Check back next time where I will focus on the comparison of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus BlackBerry Storm 9530.

  • Hello BlackBerry Bold on AT&T, Goodbye Storm on Verizon

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 Shawn 4 comments

    Welcome to part one of a multi-part romance novel (not exactly) of a man, and quest for the ultimate device and network.

    Part 1 – Last Days on Verizon Wireless
    Part 2 – First Days on AT&T
    Part 3 – BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    I’ve had a mobile device for almost 6 months. You know what that means. It’s time for something different. Although you may believe that is the reason I’m switching devices, it’s not exactly true.

    I’ve been with Verizon for about 6 years, having left Cingular (now AT&T) due to a billing issue. Verizon has been good to me. They have good (though not incredible) coverage, they have a good web site for managing accounts, and had 3G high-speed data before anyone else.

    Issues with Verizon are: their monthly plans are pricey (which isn’t a major deal if your employer pays or you can expense it), their devices are generally late to market (BlackBerry Storm excluded), and they have this crazy policy of not allowing Wi-Fi on their devices.

    The lack of Wi-Fi is what drove me away. As mentioned in earlier posts, I have terrible no Verizon coverage at home. At barely 1x, I can’t get data, all voice calls drop, and my battery always dies searching for a signal.
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    Last year I scoured the Verizon world for the BlackBerry Storm. I waited in line for hours on its launch date at my local Verizon store, and got one. I was retiring my Palm Treo 700p for the Storm. My new employer is an all BlackBerry shop, so I figured, why not get the latest device?

    The Storm has been a mixed bag for me.  Big and beautiful screen. Great sound quality and phone use. Decent UI. Click/touch screen makes it tough for typing anything. No Wi-Fi makes it basically useless at home, just like all other Verizon phones. All that aside, I would have kept the Storm if it weren’t for my employer who said “We will not allow Storms on corporate email”, because they are afraid of the amount of help desk calls they’d get with this new device.

    If Verizon had another 3G BlackBerry or something with Wi-Fi, I would have stayed. As of now, they do not. Even the upcoming BlackBerry 9630 for Verizon, will not have Wi-Fi. So, welcome (back) AT&T, and welcome the current mack-daddy of BlackBerry’s, the Bold 9000. 3G, simultaneous voice and data, GPS, bluetooth, and the deal sealer….Wi-Fi. I feel spoiled just talking about the specs in this bad boy. Yes, it has a full QWERTY keyboard (thank god). No, it does not have touchscreen (this is going to take some getting used too).

    While I was typing this post, I was activating the Bold. My number has been ported (or at least partially) from Verizon Wireless. The AT&T rep was not able to make a test call to me, but I was able to dial-out. I also received a random call on the Bold from someone looking for their lost cell phone.

    You may wonder what is in store for the Storm (which is due for a wonderful operating system update this month).  The Storm is going over to my wife, replacing her Motorola ROKR, or KRZR, or some other all CAPS bizarre acronym. She’s known for dropping and breaking phones, so I don’t expect the Storm to live well into the retirement golden years. But, it’s better than sitting in my desk drawer with my two other Treo’s and older LG phones, right?

    Check back, as My Gadget Obsession starts a new chapter with the BlackBerry Bold 9000.

  • First Impression of Leaked BlackBerry Storm Update (4.7.0.90)

    Posted on January 22nd, 2009 Shawn No comments

    BlackBerry StormAfter spending a whopping five hours with the new leaked OS, I’m ready to drop a bullet list of first impressions. I installed the leaked Storm OS update this morning, on top of the previously leaked OS (4.7.0.86). My first impression is based on features that I didn’t see in earlier releases. See other posts for my feedback on earlier releases.

    First Impression of Leaked BlackBerry Storm Update (4.7.0.90):
    * Application Center. Old icon is back, replacing the new icon in previous OS updates.
    * MySpace Application. Added to the Application Center. I’m not a MySpace user, so doesn’t excite me much.
    * QWERTY keyboard now available in portrait mode. The keyboard has not been vetted with the entire OS, as the setup screen still only offers SureType and MultiTap. Also, the new portrait QWERTY keyboard, has some characters that run off the keys. Looks a little bizarre. Though, I’m glad to see a QWERTY option for portrait. It is a nice add-on feature.
    * Landscape QWERTY Keyboard. Displays larger letters on each key. Keys remain the same size, just larger letters.
    * Home Screen. Larger text on icons, only on home screen in portrait.
    * Icons. Scroll smoother than earlier releases.
    * Camera / Video Recorder. UI is transparent, showing more of the image on screen. This was in the last update, but I only confirmed today that the Video Recorder had the UI update. Camera appears to take quicker photos.
    * LED. No more issues with LED after disconnecting Bluetooth. This issue arose in the previous OS update.
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    * Phone. Test throughout the Phone application is larger. The larger text may be nice for some users, though in some areas there is text overlap. Text overlaps specifically during a call where the display says, “My Number”. The text and my phone number slightly overlap.
    * Pictures (Media Player). First load took about 20 seconds to load. After first load, all was fine.
    * Videos (Media Player). Does not play over A2DP (Bluetooth Stereo) headset. This issue has been in all recent OS updates, and is quite disappointing. It existed in earlier OS releases and have been gone for three recent updates.
    * Music (Media Player). Long podcasts, over 1.5 hours, can not pause/skip past the 35 minute mark. If paused/skipped after 35 minutes, the podcast restarts. This happens in the Music player, as well as 3rd party PodTrapper.
    * Voice Notes Recorder. Still does not save voice notes. They record, and appear to save. Though, when you go back to view the list of recorded notes, there is nothing. This has been around for several OS updates.

    Stability seems fine, so far. The big update is the portrait QWERTY keyboard. It’s a nice first attempt, and could you a little fine tuning. The biggest negatives lie in the Media area, which is unfortunate for a potential great media device. No Bluetooth for videos, Voice Notes not saving, and Music player still missing some key features (bookmarks, skip buttons, long podcast capability).

    I’ll use this leak for the next week, and make updates to the post as needed.

  • Another BlackBerry Storm OS (4.7.0.90) Leaked

    Posted on January 22nd, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Just leaked late Thursday night is the latest in an ongoing series of leaked OS updates for the BlackBerry Storm. I have downloaded each and will continue to do so. Each update brings improvements to the device, but also introduces new issues.

    NOTE: The new leak has a version for the 9500 and 9530 Storm.

    None of the OS’s (excepting 4.7.0.65 and 4.7.0.75) have been officially released by RIM or Verizon. That said, I do not recommend you load any of the leaked OS’ onto your Storm.

    I haven’t used it yet, but here’s some early feedback from CrackBerry:

    With that, I’m going to get it now, with an update later.
    Link for 9530 leak.
    Link for 9500 leak.

    Check back.

    UPDATE: There are a couple things I have immediately heard that I need to let you in on.
    * There is now a landscape QWERTY keyboard. This is huge news.
    * People are talking about camera issues, and Capture It not working.

  • BlackBerry Storm New OS Leaked, 4.7.0.86

    Posted on January 12th, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    BlackBerry StormQuick update. If you are a junky of “hot off the press” software that isn’t even listed yet as beta, get your Storm ready. Late last night an updated Storm OS hit the intertubes, 4.7.0.86.

    WARNING: Do this at your own risk! I don’t condone running this software. But I am an addict, so I have done it, and my Storm did not crap it’s pants...yet.

    Here’s the two minute update.
    * I was on a clean install of the leaked .85 OS.
    * I downloaded the .86 release from the http://dvsphoto.com/subcon/9530AllLang_PBr4.7.0_rel121_PL4.0.0.108_A4.7.0.86.exe
    * I did a backup with Desktop Manager (DM), did not wipe.
    * Ran the install and walked away from the desk. When I returned, I had to OK the Update on my Storm. Other than that, All ran as expected via DM.
    * I’m now on .86, and have only tested for about 2 minutes. All looks to have restored fine. I’ll report more.

    If you got it, let us know what you think. Check back for updates.

  • 12/29 Update: New Storm OS (4.7.0.85) In the Wild

    Posted on December 29th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    BlackBerry StormThis is the 2nd unofficial OS update for the 9530 Storm (only for Verizon) within the past two weeks. The last leaked update, .83, had mixed reviews…most were positive. Though, I would not recommend the .83 update.  It made my Storm quite unstable, and the trade off of fixed features was not worth the issues it introduced.

    I’m now downloading the latest leaked OS, .85, and plan to install this afternoon. I’ll report back soon.

    Here’s the link if you want it: (thanks CrackBerry)
    http://rs463.rapidshare.com/files/177274456/9530AllLang_PBr4.7.0_rel120_PL4.0.0.107_A4.7.0.85.exe

    If you install this on your Storm, leave comments below with your feedback.

    UPDATE:

    I just did the update.  Here’s where I’m at:

    * Ran JL_Cmdr first, which wipes the device.  I figured with four OS updates and several installed buggy apps, it was time for a full wipe.  Details here: http://forums.crackberry.com/f3/how-wipe-jl_cmder-53502/
    * Then ran the install just like previous Storm OS updates.
    * After the install, Time Zone is set to Bogata, though I was expecting Eastern.
    * First impression, OS seems snappier out of the box.  Accelerometer is definitely faster.  We will see once I get some apps loaded and running again.

    UPDATE2:

    * Visual Voice Mail was unusable in .75 and .83.  I called VZW on this last week, and they confirmed many open tickets on VVM.  They wouldn’t tell me if there was a workaround, they just said they’d call me back…and didn’t call me. With .85, I click the “Login” button, and nothing happens.  I then try by tapping the BB button and bring up the menu, then click “Login”.  That closes the VMM app and returns an error: Uncaught exception: java.lang.ClassCastException. So, no confirmation if VMM works or not in .85, but signs point to no.

    UPDATE3:

    * After deleting (Options > Advanced Options > Applications) VVM, and re-installing from Application Center, I’m still not able to login to VMM.  This has existed since the official release of .75.  I’ll be contacting VZW on Monday to resolve or cancel.
    * Music player has several issues that were seen in .83 and continue. The Slider typically never moves when attempting to FF or Rew a track.
    * Also, there seems to be a file size limit causing an issue with FF.  I’ve noticed any long podcasts (>49 minutes) are not able to FF past the 49 minute mark. If attempted to FF after 49 minutes, the track starts over…though the timer on the Slider continues to count past 49 minutes. This problem also occurs if you pause and unpause a track after the 49 minute mark.  It also restarts.  Without any bookmarking feature (which is desperately needed for a multi-media device), this makes listening to podcasts quite difficult.

    UPDATE4:

    * Where’s my LED? I have not seen the LED light up at all since upgrading to .85.
    * My email no longer gives me the options of “Delete in Mailbox & Handheld” etc. After looking at my Email settings (Setup > Email Settings > Edit) there is a greyed out checked box “Synchronization of deleted items is unavailable because Wireless Reconciliation is disabled on your device.”  How do I fix this?

    UPDATE5:

    * LED was set to off (Options > Screen/Keyboard > LED coverage Indicator). Set it to on and LED is working as expected.
    * The screen dims/brightens based on lighting. I noticed it last night while sitting in the car.  The screen was dim, then I turned on the interior light of my car and the screen brightened up.  Very cool and possibly a power saver. This might have been in earlier builds, but I didn’t notice it until .85
    * Windows Media Player (WMP) loses all saved settings (via MTP) when I do OS updates.  I use WMP to sync my music/podcasts everyday. With each OS update, WMP loses the device details and I have to set it back up, then set up my sync preferences. It typically loses my previously synced history too and will duplicate synced songs. It’s not the end of the world, but I wish there was a way to retain the sync settings in WMP when an OS is updated.

    Check back for updates

  • BlackBerry Storm not for Traditional BlackBerry Users

    Posted on December 18th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    BlackBerry Storm 12/15I’m new to BlackBerry, though not new to smartphones or touchscreens. After one month of Storm use, I have determined the Storm is not for current BlackBerry users. In fact, most (if not all) happy users of the BlackBerry 7000 or 8000 series will be quite disappointed with the Storm. This is not to say the Storm is bad, it is just very different and not at all “classic” BlackBerry. The Storm is not your dad’s bosses BlackBerry.

    So, if the Storm is not an upgrade for any current BlackBerry user, then who the heck is this thing for? It is for a new crowd of future CrackBerry addicts.
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    * It’s for the people who want an iPhone, but are required/forced/happy to use Verizon as a carrier. If you have great Verizon coverage, you’d probably want to stick with Verizon. The first rule to choosing a mobile phone is carrier. You need good coverage, otherwise your great device won’t work for you.
    * It’s for people who want a cool gadget (i.e. iPhone, Google G1) but their employer will only allow BlackBerry devices to connect to corporate resources (i.e. email, calendar, etc). Many employers have large BlackBerry implementations, and for security and management purposes, will only allow BB devices to connect. So, iPhone, Palm, Windows Mobile, Android, etc are left in the cold.
    * It’s for someone who has been considering moving to a smartphone from a standard cell phone. I’ve seen a few people retire their LG and Motorola flip-phones for Storms. It will be a big learning curve, but the Storm will open up things they have never seen/used before.
    * It’s for the mobile media junky. Granted, iPhone is the mobile media king…but Storm may be coming in at a close second. With 9GB of storage (1GB on-board + 8GB included microSD), and supports 17GB of storage, the Storm has all the space needed for music, movies, TV shows, recorded videos, and photos. With a 3mp camera, the photo and video quality is quite good. The built-in flash allows the Storm to grab those must have photos/videos with quite good quality for a phone. The media player combined with the big/beautiful screen is great for watching shows and displaying album art.
    * I can’t say the Storm is for the email/texting junky though. Like the iPhone and other touchscreen only phones, typing isn’t the strongest part of the phone. This is the big part of why previous BB users will be turned off. I’m coming from a Treo with full QWERTY keyboard, and the transition is tough. I’m now at the point where I can type email fairly quickly. Thanks to the Storm’s learning capabilities and SureType, I’m getting to the point where I can use it for occasional email. Though, it will not likely be as comfortable as the Treo (or traditional BlackBerry) keyboard, ever.

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